A Very HMA Holiday: Family and the Workplace

They’re heeeeeeeeeeere…The holidays, that is!

At HMA, we take our holidays very seriously. After all, they remind us how fortunate we are to have an abundance of good people in our lives. Although most people immediately associate holiday season with family season, perhaps not as many include their “work families” in that equation. Here at Howard Miller Associates, however, it’s a different story.

One of the first things that struck me about HMA when I started here back in June was the general attitude of care and concern that HMA-ers have for each other. Because we are a small team in a close environment, this characteristic is not only impressive, but exceedingly rare. Typically, if you gather a large number of starkly unique people together in a small environment for 9+ hours a day, 5 days a week, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if it resulted in utter chaos, or attempts to hide effectively in one’s desk area- undetectable by co-worker radars.

Fortunately, our HMA conglomeration of employees has managed to beat the odds. Rather than clashing, our mixture of people have managed to become very close- a true “work family.” I decided to investigate fellow HMA team member perspectives around this to see what others had to say about the dynamic.

Our account coordinator Mandy Myers framed it perfectly, saying “When you think of the word family, maybe you think first about your parents or brothers and sisters. Perhaps you think about your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Maybe you think about friends who have become family over the years, but do you think of your co-workers? I do.” Mandy was also quick to highlight that, in any family, there are “the jokesters, the peacemakers, the ones you go to for support, those you look to for advice and the people who push you to succeed. And at Howard Miller Associates, I’ve learned that family can’t be measured by the years you’ve known someone. It can’t be authenticated by bloodlines. Laughter, memories, and the strong bonds that are built measure family.” Like many newcomers to HMA, Mandy explains that working here has given her a whole “new definition of what constitutes a family. We care about each other like family. We drive each other crazy like family. We work together like a family does. As we approach the holidays, I am thankful for my HMA family.”

Obviously, the definitional concept of family is a fluid one for HMA. But what about family members’ uncanny ability to “read” one another? It’s not unusual for a member of a traditional family unit to instinctively “know what’s best” for other members of the family- even if this is not immediately apparent to the person themselves until much later. This is strikingly similar to our president Drew Dorgan’s ability to know what’s best for members of the HMA team. This was reinforced by the words of our account coordinator Dan Jamieson who said, “Drew is well-known for her ability to read people and understand the dynamics in the room. Her divination also extends to the HMA team, where she can be quite good at determining what a person’s interests are, where they fit in the team and what career path they want to follow.” Dan added that her “interest in everyone’s success, personally and professionally, definitely adds to the feeling that HMA is one big family.”

According to Drew, the family-feeling is mutual. As she mentioned, “I love my HMA team like family because they let me in their lives…Oh wait. Just like a real family, they don’t ‘let me in’, I barge in on their lives! I am thankful this holiday season for each of them and the fact that they share their gifts with me.”

This holiday season, we all can think of things in our lives that we are thankful for. Although home is where the heart is traditionally, at HMA, it has made it into the workplace.

What are you thankful for, and how does your own work environment brighten your holiday season?

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